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Interest in multilingualism has been growing in leaps and bounds over the past two decades in European policy spheres, U.S. state legislatures, scholarly conference circuits, computational sciences, and international business logistics and recruiting.
But is multilingualism always a virtue for everyone? Do we all mean the same thing when we speak of it? Is multilingualism the opposite of monolingualism, or do these notions go historically hand-in-hand? What does it mean to research multilinguality?
This talk presents an account of the early years of the field of "critical multilingualism studies" — a field of exploratory questions currently housed in a journal I co-edit with my colleague Cantelle Warner. Founded in 2012, the journal CMS (cms.arizona.edu) has promoted lines of research inquiry that bridge gaps between comparative literature, applied linguistics, creative arts, public policy, education, migration studies and linguistic anthropology.
This talk will chart out some of the rationales, outcomes and enduring problems that characterize the field of critical multilingualism studies so far and suggest opportunities for future expansion and collaboration.